Skip to main content
7:00 pm
-- next on c-span, watch engaged as we preview tonight's vice presidential debate, which starts live at 9:00 p.m. eastern. on c-span2, a discussion on close house and senate races and the strengths and weaknesses of president obama and governor romney. on c-span3, a state department briefing on what government officials blame the september 11 benghazi attacks on protests outside the compound, even though coverage now says there were >> this is the second presidential -- vice- presidential debate. in two hours from now, vice president joe biden will take the stage and face his gop challenger, congressman paul ryan, and a 90-minute debate.
7:01 pm
until then, c-span will take you behind the scenes for a look at the process and also the politics of the 2012 vice- presidential debate. our phone lines will be open and you can see the phone numbers on your screen right now. we are asking whether or not the vice-presidential debate affects your vote in november. you can also answered this question on facebook. lots of people are already offering their opinion, so join the conversation there. we'll be here for 90 minutes of the two hours, and then something special you see on this network that you will see nowhere else on television. we will see all the preparations and get a real
7:02 pm
behind-the-scenes labor. someone who knows about all the behind-the-scenes is joining us tonight. he's the gop co-chairman of the presidential debate commission and has been in that role since the commission was founded in 1987. thanks for being here. so many questions i want to ask you. let's just start with centre college itself. how is it that have come to host two vice-presidential debate? >> they are one of only four schools in the country who have hosted more than one debate. this is their second. we go through a process where we send out a request for bids ahead of time. there were one of the schools that put in a bid to host the debate this time. we have a team that goes out, lighting, sound people, etc., and the secret service involved. we finally get down to deciding if we can do something geographically.
7:03 pm
we like to do one in the west, one in the south, one in the midwest, and one in the northeast. we knew them, the secret service knew the school. they did such a good job 12 years ago, we are just delighted to be back here. >> so much has changed in 12 years, not just in the country but about the debate. i heard an interview from then and it was about $1.5 million. now it is somewhere in the neighborhood of $3 million. >> $1.65 million. one of the problems from the standpoint of cost is, we have in this series of debates about 2500 certified reporters. we have to provide facilities where they can follow the debates, their computers have to be hooked up, they have to have
7:04 pm
the facility with cell phones. they have to be in a position where they can watch the debate. that is a tremendous expense. the price of almost everything has gone up. most of the universities to host these debates don't necessarily themselves funded them. they use some of their benefactors and those that support them. but the cost of everything has gone up in this economy. that is one of the reasons we had last schools, about 38 schools submitted this round, where 10 or 12 years ago, we had close to 40 or 50. >> let's move to the format. tonight these two gentlemen will be seated, as were the vice presidential contenders in 2000. why is that? >> the commission has studied long and hard over the years and we think the nature and tenor of discourse changes when you are seated around a table.
7:05 pm
we recommend this time as we did four years ago that all of the debate other than the town hall meeting, which is different, which will be next week, all of them are seated at a table. four years ago, senator obama and senator mccain asked us to do one with the podium. they did the same this time with the governor and the president. we are not going to argue about the format as long as they don't touch the integrity of the format itself. we think a better format in getting full discussion of issues in depth of discussion of issues is when you are seated at a table, rather than standing behind a podium. >> no one is more aware than you of all the discussion, and a lot of criticism of the first round of debates this season and how jim lehrer moderated. the commission has put out a statement saying he did exactly the way he wanted, which was a much more open format.
7:06 pm
take us behind the scenes. since that debate happen, how much discussion internally about how to moderate the open format differently this time around. >> susan, nothing has changed. we think jim did exactly what we asked him to do. the only time limits, and they will be tonight also, and the first question is asked, the candidates will have two minutes to respond. after that, there are no other time limits. it is just up to the moderator to try to keep the pods together. there were six pots, about 15 minutes in denver. here, there are nine pods of about 10 minutes. it is moving subject matter to subject matter. if they are engaging, if they are debating -- one of the criticisms over here, and we have been talking about dates for 20 something years, is trying to get candidates to engage and actually debate.
7:07 pm
our instructions to all the moderators, if they are engaging, don't worry about the time limit. let's get them to engage in discussions. we were very, very pleased with the job that jim did last time and we hope that martha does the same thing. there is about four and a half minutes on each subject matter that we want open debate, drilling down. >> tonight will be a combination of both domestic and foreign policy, i understand. >> that is correct. she will have a producer talking in this thing i have in my year, telling her we are low over on foreign policy and have to get back to domestic, so she has the balance. it is not perfect, but we do the best job we can. again, if we get that discourse going between the vice-president and congressman ryan, that is what we are looking for. one section may run little longer than another section, but
7:08 pm
we try to get that interplay of ideas and discussion. >> i want to show a brief clip to introduce her to them. she was interviewed on our "q&a" program on sunday night. here is just a brief clip of her. >> the public bears the responsibility of keeping themselves and form, not just going to the top 10 searches -- believe me, i go to our website and i will read about katie and tom, too, but that should be your dessert. people should plan their day around a good meal of news. your viewers are the best. they stay informed all the time. but it is important to teach your children that. i am not quite there with my son. he is still on espn. that is okay, he is 19 years old, but it is an important
7:09 pm
civic responsibility to know what your country is doing. it is heartbreaking to me that people don't seem to care about afghanistan very much. people turn off the tv when it is afghanistan or iraq or those stories come up that don't affect them personally. because they are fewer than 1% of americans in afghanistan, it does not affect people personally. that is why i keep doing this. i want to tell people why this matters and show them the effects of that war. i want to show that that fewer than 1% of american people, what they are doing. and i will continue doing that as long as i can. >> that is marked up -- that is martha raddatz talking about her view of personal responsibility. >> it the hardest thing we have
7:10 pm
to do every four years, we try to find people whose egos are not going to get in the way of the facts, and the story of these debates should be the candidates and not the moderator. we are looking for people whose ego, and they have been in the business long enough that the don't have to prove how smart they are to either their colleagues in the media or to the general public. people are respected not only by the public, but by their colleagues. diversity is very important today. we were criticized by the hispanic community because we did not have someone who is hispanic. we were criticized by the black community because we did not have a black american. there are only four spots, so we do our best to try to get the balance. looking at the people who are qualified, in our opinion, to do this job in a fair and balanced way. we look at their work product over the last six or eight months before the debate goes on to make sure they have not taken
7:11 pm
one side or another, from a journalistic point of view. these are hard decisions. we are very proud of these four. we have to men and two women. we think they are wonderfully prepared and qualified to do this job. we are really looking forward to it. >> considering all the impact we described at the outset, why continue in this format? why not just put them in a television studio some place that is secure and keep cladistics to a minimum. >> that is such a great question. -- keep the logistics to a minimum. >> the candidates are at their best when they are out on a trail. there are like people in the audience. they like it. we viewed it as part of the educational function of the commission of presidential debates. that is what we do it on college campuses. it is amazing, there are
7:12 pm
thousands of students out there on one side or the other. they are energized. the people in this community are energized. we think is very important to have this sort of setting and we will continue this. there is much jargon about whether or not it ought to be in a studio. -- much argument about whether it ought to be in a studio. i think that is a sterile environment. the university campuses the center of learning in our country. >> we are about to begin engaging our audience on the importance of the vice- presidential debate. our question to them is, does it affect your vote? >> it is a trite expression, but it is true, that the vice president is one heartbeat from the presidency. over the last 50 years, we have
7:13 pm
had places where the vice president has had to become the president. sometimes temporarily, when we have had operations on some of the existing precedents. other times there are assassinations or other problems. we believe it is important to have the vice-president at least once present themselves to the american people. most of the american people know by president biden. most do not know paul ryan. he has been in congress for over 10 years. is an opportunity for growth of these men to show the american people that should something happen to the president, they are prepared, they have the knowledge and experience to move into that chair and lead our nation. >> thank you so much. will we see you on stage tonight? >> you will see me in a little
7:14 pm
while. >> explain to the people that are watching this network what they will get inside the hall. what are the minutes before the network cameras turn on like? >> i think the most wonderful thing c-span does it show that half hour before, as people are taking their seats. as you know, there will be people who want their picture taken as close to the stage as they can get. then they will settle down. i think the good moments are when the moderator is come out. they turn around and address the audience and make the point that the people in this all are very, very fortunate. they are part of history tonight. i don't know how many millions of people, 70 million who watched the first debate in denver. people are at home watching on television, trying to learn about the candidates and the issues, so they can make a decision, and trying to tell
7:15 pm
them to stay out of it. they are here, they want to applaud. i thought the primaries were very bad. they were yelling and cheering and clapping. we do not want that. the moderator will come out and give them warnings. they are going to suddenly disappear if they clap or cheer. this is such a service of bringing people inside of what is going on in this hall before the camera lights go on and the debate begins. >> thank you so much for starting off the evening with us. we appreciate it. >> it is always a pleasure. >> are question for you is, does the vice-presidential pick affect your vote? our phone lines are open and we have posted on facebook.
7:16 pm
you can also send us say tweet if you like and we may use it on the air. let's begin with and telephone calls. first up is a republican. >> the vice-president affects my decision because first of all, the former speaker said he is a heartbeat from the presidency. and also, his opinions affect the president's decisions, may be on pieces of legislation. that is my opinion. thank you. >> next is juilo in indiana, an independent. >> i think it does affect me, but in this particular election cycle, it does not affect me who is the vice presidential nominee.
7:17 pm
70 million watched the first debate in denver. we, the american people, were not allowed to get other candidates, like a libertarian or at the green party, there nominee in the debates. i think it would be a huge justice to the american public and american sites -- society to allow topics like the whole health battle. those are the type of subjects that if they were forced to talk about it in a debate platform would be very beneficial to the american culture. we are doing a disservice by not allowing multiple party candidates to be allowed to have the state of equal time as the republicans and democrat. >> next is thomas, watching us
7:18 pm
in oxnard, california. he is a democrat. >> honestly, in my opinion, everybody always looks to the presidential debate and they always suggest what the president has to offer and what he wants to offer. you have to think about what if the president is not there? his the president listening to -- who is the president listing to? everybody is saying, he is the other half of the heartbeat. if you don't know what your vice president has to offer, what do you really know? >> what kind of job do you think joe biden has been doing in the role? >> in my opinion, i think he has done a good job. i have supported him since they won. if it gives more of a chance to show what they have to offer, when president obama is elected, and he will be reelected, in my
7:19 pm
opinion, he is definitely going to show his strength and show what he can do. the same way he always has. >> here are a couple of facebook comments on this question. that is some of the commons. you can join the conversation there if you would like on facebook and the c-span page. we also have a second screen experience for those of you who are on tablets and laptop computers. we have created a debate hub
7:20 pm
that will have live streaming of the debate. you can also click and share key moments that matter to you with people in your community. we will be organizing the debate tonight my questions. you can go back after this debate and find the answers on key areas such as foreign policy, the war in iraq, taxes, and that sort of thing. lots of opportunity to dive into the substance on the c-span debate of that you can find on our next guest is in the media spin room. if the executive vice president of college republicans at cet ntre college. tell me about the experience for the campus. what has it been like the past couple of weeks leading into the debate? >> this has absolutely
7:21 pm
transformed centre college. when i came here two years ago, then bill was a small town. tonight, the world is watching -- danville was a small town. i could not be more proud of the transformation i've seen on campus in the past two months. >> i have been reading on the internet that you have been having voter registration drives in concert with the debate. how has that been going? >> it is great. the president was present have been truly wonderful to work with. we are looking for a bipartisan solution to our problems. if we can get people voting on issues that are important to them, that is important. >> it with absolutely
7:22 pm
remarkable. congressman run, his wife, his mother, or some of the friendliest people i have ever met. he shook hands and had conversations, and so did his family. he was genuine. i got to see the human side of candidates that a lot of people don't get to see. a ultimately that confirms or i will be voting this year. >> kentucky is not exactly a swing state. >> i think students on this campus will be very active. having this event here tonight as increased political engagement tenfold. we have people registered here in danville now, people voting absentee. it gets people excited. we are having these events here
7:23 pm
on campus to educate a group of people. i cannot tell you how many people have talked to from nearby universities that are more excited than they ever have been about engaging politically. ultimately that will lead to increased numbers at the polls. >> you have told us that you are interested as a premed student and hope to go in to public health for your career. one of the centerpieces for policy debate this time around is going to be on the president of the health care law. from a policy perspective, where are you and what do you think your party offers on healthcare? >> i will start by telling you where i am on that law. i see president obama's health care legislation as adding 32 million people to an already broken system. if you have a broken base and you pour water into it, it is going to shatter.
7:24 pm
see substantial solutions to pass the system we have to do. the gaps and loopholes and waste and fraud, that is where we need to start. governor romney and congressman ryan want to see what we have today and how we can build upon that. especially so that we are not taxing the american people more than we already are. the fact that the supreme court saw obamacare as a tax is an issue for me as it is for most republicans. i would like to see people work together to create a solution where people have health care. governor romney has never said he does not want every american to have health care. it wants a good solution. he does not want to do anything until he has found the right way to do it. he does not want to have to do something three years down the road to repair its.
7:25 pm
>> where will you watch tonight? >> are campaign headquarters are just a few steps away. we are going to watch on tv. we will be cheering and shouting and discussing the debate as it is going on. i think i will be with my team. >> that is the advantage, you actually get to share our make noise or clap while the people there cannot do that. thank you very much for spending time with c-span. we appreciate it. >> thank you so much. >> benjamin tudor is a junior and he is hoping to go in to public health as a premed student. you are looking at the so-called media spin room, which will keep
7:26 pm
getting busier as the next hour progresses. afterward, people come right out of the hall and begin to talk to people to offer their perspective on what just happened with their candidates. we are watching live coverage from kentucky of the vice presidential debate preview. back to our question, does the vice-presidential pick affect your vote in this year's elections, and what kind of job has joe biden been doing? >> the next call from michigan, republican. >> i am a homound quadriplegic with medicaid and food stamps. ryan is going to throw us under the bus because he thinks it is free. i spend 600 rose a month to get my services coming here. >> in your case, the selection
7:27 pm
of paul ryan does affect your decision. your calling yourself a republican, so how will you vote? >> i have not voted debt because i have to hear what his plan is. -- i have not voted yet. under the obama plan, i might make out better. like i said, i am a registered republican, but to make, they are going to throw us under the bus. seniors are scared we will not get social security benefits or medicaid. like i say, i spent $609 a month and i get food stamps and they are talking about us like we are lazy people and we cannot do anything. i have been paralyzed for 17 years, homebound, bed down, and i don't want to lose my services.
7:28 pm
>> next up is erik in california, a democrat. >> first of all, i want to give my prayer is to arrange for her medical condition. i think she's absolutely right about being thrown under the bus. i think the vice presidential debate is going to be very important because people forget that the word vp means very special person. the vice-president is second in command of the nation when the president is either out of the country or dead. joe biden i think has done a very good job. with his age and experience in politics and foreign affairs, i think he has the ability to run the nation as well as his other constituents in his party much better than mr. ryan would be
7:29 pm
something tragic were to happen to romney if he were elected president, which i hope he is not. those are my comment on the vice-presidential debate. i think there are very important for the nation because people have to know how well the second in command of this country will perform under pressure. >> thanks for your call. both campaigns this year are very active on social media. the romney campaign sent out this picture just before we began. it is of the gop candidate call- in his vice presidential nominee to wish him good luck in the debate tonight. next up is a telephone call from barbara in north carolina, an independent. go ahead, please. >> i think the vice president is
7:30 pm
very important. like the caller just said, we need to know how will the country be run if anything was to happen to the president. i think joe biden and barack obama have done an outstanding job. i already know who i am going to vote for. >> what issue is most important to you this year in the election? >> health care. mitt romney and paul ryan want to take everything from us, and i don't think that is bare. -- out of think that is fair. >> speaking of politics, let's go to the other side of the aisle and introduce you to the colleget of cedntre
7:31 pm
democrats. he is a history major and government maj. we like those kind of majors at c-span here, mr. miller. thanks for being with us. >> thank you for asking me to be on give us a sense of what the campus has been like. what is your view of how the last couple of weeks have been unfolding, with all the logistics, sponsors, and the like, in a town of 16,000. >> i have to tell you, starting way back last november, we were so excited when we heard we were going to be hosting the only vice-presidential debate, and the excitement has just been built up on leading up to the debate. our student population has been incredibly receptive. the two groups have worked great
7:32 pm
together on campus. cracks people are probably watching and saying, why can't that spread to washington? >> people who work in centre republicans are friends of mine. you start there, that is a really good way to get going. >> tell me about the issues that are most important to the young people you talk to on campus this year. >> i will be a little prejudiced and tell you as a member of the senior class, i am a little more biased toward the economy, specifically because i am more and more concerned about what kind of job prospects i have when i graduate. but at the same time i am concerned, i am relieved when i see the president doing things to make sure that i will have a job and he is making sure that i don't graduate with tons of debt.
7:33 pm
he has a firm his commitment that education is not a privilege but something that everyone should have an option. >> are you planning to stay in kentucky? the kentucky in women rate is a little above 8% right now. but that is true. yes, -- the kentucky employment -- unemployment rate is a little but a% right now. >> yes, i do plan to stay in kentucky. we have actually been doing better than most other states. our high unemployment rate is due to the fact that we are in a -- heavily invested in manufacturing in this state. we have been able to grow as opposed to being a stalemate. >> we have a photograph from the
7:34 pm
democrats facebook page of some students getting involved in activities related to the debates. tell me about what your club has been doing in the past couple of days. >> we have been incredibly active on campus. when i first started this week, the campaign had been asking us to help, but we did not halt -- we did not know how much they wanted us to help. there have been asking us to make signs, make phone calls, made sure everyone is fired up and ready to go for this election and to see joe biden on campus. >> did you get a seat inside the hall tonight? will you be watching from inside? >> no, i will be watching from the obama campaign workspace for the evening.
7:35 pm
being a political nerve like my set, it is not bad to know that david axelrod is sitting 3 feet from me. >> thank you so much, david miller. he is a senior who is graduating next spring. we appreciate your time. >> absolutely. thank you for asking me to be part of this. >> tell us what you think about this year's selections. we would like to hear your of on how joe biden has performed in the role of vice president of the past couple of years. next is tim in lexington, kentucky, who is a democrat. >> i received calls daily from various pollsters and when i tell them i am 76 and republican, i mean i say i am a
7:36 pm
registered democrat, they hang up and will not take my information. i think it is just a series of events, the lemming effect, just jump off the cliff with president obama. joe biden, no matter what they say, i am a republican today because i gave up on the democrats' long ago. obama said if i cannot do the job in four years, i do not deserve another four. that was the one and only light told in this whole campaign. that is all. >> next up is suzanne, a republican. we are listening. >> i decided to make sure you could hear me. as far as the vice-president goes, it is very important, does
7:37 pm
he is the next one in line if anything were to happen to the president. as far as biden, i like him as a person, but i do not think he had done the job he could have done. he makes a lot of his -- a lot of mistakes in his speeches and all that, but that can happen to anybody. i will be voting for romney and ryan, because i do not think that obama has done his job, and my main concern and what i am waiting for is to find out what governor romney has to say and what he intends on trying to do about the war over in the middle east. this is a very, very, very bad
7:38 pm
situation all the way around. i am very concerned about the war over there. we have lost so many men, and we have been coming back so maimed, and since obama removed shortridge from iran, that bush put in their, to help israel, we have lost ground on iran. if something is not done to give these people in iran back their freedom that they began to have, then i don't know what is going to happen over there. it is a mess over there. and it is not only over there, it is everywhere. this is my main concern. i don't know about anybody else. our economy is in a very, very
7:39 pm
bad situation. our troops are not getting everything that they need. we are not fighting this war. we are negotiating with people that you cannot negotiate with. >> i might mention martha raddatz's background is in foreign policy. she has been a senior foreign affairs correspondent since 2008. she has been on the ground with the troops and we have interviewed her on those experiences. it would be highly likely that she would ask questions specifically about the things our last caller was interested in.
7:40 pm
next up is a call from john in arlington, virginia, and he is an independent. >> thank you again for having me on tonight. i think what you just read off their really captures the role of the vice president, especially going into this debate tonight. it is really the vp's that show what the partisan pauley pilot -- partisan policy politics go. i think joe biden as a pick in 2008 was really a way to make up for barack obama's lack of
7:41 pm
experience in foreign policy. i think paul ryan will be attracting votes from that far right groups that obama had a hard time reaching. in some sense, what type of damage control might have to be done for independent voters by the candidates themselves. >> thanks for that comment from arlington, virginia. next we will meet john allen rausch, who is president of centre college. he joins us now from inside the debate hall. thanks so much for being with us. after going through the experience of 2000, why did centre college put their hat in the ring a second time? >> this is a powerfully good
7:42 pm
thing for our students and for our entire town. we always thought we would do this again. when you have an event like this, it changes the institution from that point forward. our board has responded to that kind of encouragement, of the students we attract. centre college has been able to double down on the success of that first debate and we want to do it again. the response we have gone from our faculty, students, staff, from the commonwealth of kentucky, it was absolutely the right thing to do. tonight will be the proof. >> i don't think many college presidents can make this claim, but you were at the university of michigan in 1992 when they
7:43 pm
sponsored a debate, and then two at your own school here. so now free debate functions have come under your belt. i am wondering about your reflections on how much the debates have changed over the years. >> this is our third rodeo, my wife and i. i remember the first one in 1992 where i had key responsibility. it was a big deal and it was powerfully good for the university of richmond when i was there. the smallest college that has never hosted one of these, but i looked at the quality of the facilities here and more important, the quality of the people here at centre college. what we did in 2000 was simply
7:44 pm
to set the standard by which others are now being judged. i understand how to do this. i must pay a serious complement to my colleagues. they have done all the heavy lifting. the men and women of centre college and the commonwealth of kentucky. they are the ones who have pulled this together and allow us to do it again here in 2012. >> i am wondering if you could tell us a bit about how the security arrangements have changed in these 12 years. but as i would tell you the biggest change is simply the complexity of the events. after 9/11, we knew that it would go up by factor of 5x in terms of security. these men and women in our police forces and secret
7:45 pm
service, they have been great partners in all of this. that have been a powerfully good partner in all of this and in many ways, made it seem quite normal. we have had great partners in this and i am confident we will pull off an event tonight that will be the standard by which others are judged. >> i watched you do a student interview on video. one of the conditions was the money would be raised outside the normal fund-raising process for universities. how expensive are these and how challenging was the fundraising effort? >> we have a history for stretching our dollar farther than most, and i am proud of that. this is a $3 million-plus
7:46 pm
operation. we have been able to go out and make a mark for that kind of fund raising. it is an expensive proposition. the commission is the ultimate sponsor of these debates. i want to come back. for centre college, is an important part of our educational mission. almost 15% of our population will be here tonight. this becomes a powerful educational experience for our students that brings value into their lives. this is not just a pr move for centre college. this is something that i believe
7:47 pm
will change their lives for the better. >> how about all those students, what will their debate experience be about tonight? how will they get to watch this and be involved? >> in 2010 been something that others are not duplicating, which is this debate festival. we have about 7000 people across the street at this wonderful festival where they have been listening to music all day long. at 9:00 we will switch to the debate. i expect they are having a great time, so good for us. we are doing it again. it seems really natural for us. when we do one of these events, we don't want to become an exclusive experience. we try to spread around between elementary, middle school and high-school kids. the whole process of democracy,
7:48 pm
getting into. all across the world. that is an important part of our education program. we are proud to sponsor a big television even here tonight. >> i am sure that all the university presidents in kentucky as a group are concerned about employment in the state of kentucky, keeping students in state after they graduate. the kentucky employment rate is a little over the national average. what is your believe about what it will take to turn the kentucky economy around? >> that is a big one. centre college is growing, we are adding staff and faculty. it is more about pulling together.
7:49 pm
i think that the leadership in kentucky's colleges and universities is as strong as it has ever been. there is a spirit of cooperation with our city and county government. i am convinced kentucky's future is better than it might at first appear because of the quality of people and their willingness cooperate and move us in the direction of common good. if i was a betting man, i would get some money on kentucky and our capacity to get this turned around at a higher rate of speed. ex-president john allen roush, thank you very much for your time and for your information -- >> president john allen roush. >> thank you for the job that you and c-span do. >> back to phone calls. we'll be here until 8:30 eastern
7:50 pm
time and then you'll get an opportunity to see inside the hall and the last half-hour of preparations. you will get an insider's view tonight on this network. lisa is watching us in ohio. the question is, does the vice presidential pick matter, and if so, why? what do you think of this year's election? >> i think the vice presidential pick matters. paul ryan is a tea party advocate. that is what has inspired me. these kids think there should be a free ride to power, they think they should not have to pay taxes. everybody should have to pay taxes, i don't care who you are, democrat, republican. roe versus wade, overturn it. i am done with this stuff.
7:51 pm
we do not need to have any more abortions, and that is all i have to say. >> when you turn down the volume on your tv? we are getting feedback. >> i am sorry. it is very important to me and my family, and had the convention down here in tampa, florida. we kind of like felt uncomfortable, so this debate tonight is very important. this is not something that i think we as citizens and people
7:52 pm
have observed the world saying where we have been four years ago. of course we are a lot better than where we were four years ago, people. we are not in slavery. this debate tonight is important. i thank c-span for giving me a voice. i am letting everybody know that we are voting for obama because the issues, the promises are still on the table. i am not going to be manipulated by television or the news media. i thank you all that are standing on the truth that we help this man, republican or democrat. >> mary writes this on twitter.
7:53 pm
one more call and then we will introduce you to our next and final guess. to a callerlisten from boston, massachusetts. welcome to the program, an independent. how interested are you in the vice-presidential debate? >> this is very important for me. it is a deal breaker for me. there are several reasons, but i want to tell a few of them.
7:54 pm
it was asked what he would do in the inner city, and his answer was he would teach them discipline, he would teach them good values. he is acting as if those people don't have all those things. there is a flaw in this whole argument. i felt like asking him, how much did you accept from your father? if somebody has $30 million, maybe they don't need -- they would have done all right.
7:55 pm
it would be better everybody started from the same place. just because somebody has done well does not mean that are miracle workers. >> thanks for your call. we'll have more telephone calls in the half-hour ahead. we have the bureau chief of usa today in the spin room. have you been spun yet? >> i have not. the nationals have a chance to continue their playoff hopes, and that got a big cheer in the press room. >> hopefully now that the game is behind us, we'll be focusing on presidential and vice presidential politics. set the stage for us tonight.
7:56 pm
it is interesting, just on the to callers, one said the choice of brian -- ryan, how high are the stakes tonight? >> i think the stakes are higher than usual. we know that the vice presidential debates tend to not have very much impact, but because the races so close, i think the stakes are a little higher. the question is, can by president biden do what president obama failed to do last week, and that is really impress the democrats' case and raise questions about the proposals the republicans are making and stop the republican momentum we have seen over the last few days. >> this has to be really tough
7:57 pm
job for many journalists are any moderator of these debates. jim lehrer is a journalist we are respect who took some flak for the last debate by not injecting himself more. i think we may see -- martha's attitude, she might be more engaged moderator in that the discussion time will be shorter on each of these topics. she may have a little more of a role. let each can they speak for 2 minutes, then have a discussion for about five minutes more.
7:58 pm
she is there representing americans. americans want to know more about these two particular candidates. my thoughts are really with them tonight. >> we have pulled a clip from each person just to show them in action. i want to start with a clip from the 2000 campaign. this is joe biden in the debate with sarah palin. >> with regard to the role of the vice-president, in my case, let me tell you what barack had to say. i have a record of getting things done in the united
7:59 pm
states. my record shows that on controversial issues. i would be the point person for our administration. when asked if i wanted a portfolio, my response was no. barack obama indicated he wanted me to be with him to help him governmen. i will give my bested by spirit one of the things he said early on -- i will give my best. i look forward to working with barack and playing a very constructive role in his presidency, creating the type of change this country needs. >> there was a lot of concern four years ago that he did not seem to be arrogant toward sarah
8:00 pm
palin or not patronizing toward her, that would be a better word. and there are no such concerns tonight. he's going to be more aggressive against paul ryan than he was against sarah palin. and of course he won't be -- there's the question that he was answering then, you know, kind of what kind of vice president he would be. his answer on a question like that would be different tonight because of course he's been vice president for four years and we know there are areas in which he's played an extremely significant role including, for instance, policy toward iraq. >> let's also now watch a clip with paul ryan. this of course not a debate clip but we thought it captured the flavor of the challenge and this is him in his exchange at a health care summit in washington. >> i think probably the most cynical gimmick in this bill is something that we all probably agree on. we don't think we should cut doctors 21% next year. we've stopped those cuts from occurring every year for the last seven years. we all call this here in washington the doc fix. the doc fix, according to your numbers, costs $371 billion.
8:01 pm
it was in the first iteration of all these bills. but because it was a big price tag and it made the score look bad, make it look like a deficit, that provision was taken out and it's been going on in stand-alone legislation. but ignoring these costs does not remove them from the backs of taxpayers. hiding spending does not reduce spending. and so when you take a look at all this, it just doesn't add up. let's finish with the cost curve. are we bending the cost curve down? or are we bending the cost curve up? if you look at your own sheet act wear in medicare, we're bending it up. ears claiming that we're going up 22 -- $222 billion. adding more to the unsustainable fiscal situation we have. and so, when you take a look at this, it's really deeper than the deficits or the budget gimmicks or the actuaryial analysis. there really is a difference between us. and we've been talking about how much we agree on different issues, but there really is a difference between us. and it's basically this. we don't think the government
8:02 pm
should be in control of all of this. we want people to be in control. and that at the end of the day is the big difference. now we've offered lots of ideas all last year, all this year. because we agree that the status quo is unsustainable. it's got to get fixed. it's bankrupting families. it's bankrupting our government. it's hurting families with pre-existing conditions. we all want to fix this. but we don't think that this is the answer to the solution and all of the analysis we get proves that point. now, i'll just simply say this and i respectfully disagree with the vice president about what the american people are or are not saying or whether we're qualified to speak on their behalf. -- [inaudible] >> we are all representatives of the american people. we all do town hall meetings. we all talk to our constituents. and i've got to tell you, the american people are engaged and if you think they want a government takeover of health care, i would respectfully submit you're not listening to them. so what we simply want to do is start over, work on a clean
8:03 pm
sheet of paper, move through these issues step by step and fix them and bring down health care costs and not raise them. that's basically the point. >> paul ryan in a direct address to the president in the health care summit. were you able to watch the video and see the president in that exchange? >> i was. what a great exchange it was. i remember that exchange. it was one of the exchanges that really helped bolster paul ryan's reputation. he was challenging the president of the united states. that doesn't happen that often. people often get in front of the president of either party and tend to kind of shade their criticisms or soften their words. that was a very direct challenge to president obama and president obama, some of the cutaways you showed, did not look happy to be hearing that. that's the kind of argument i think we'll expect to hear tonight from paul ryan about the different approaches that the republican ticket and the democratic one would make on these big issues of spending and health care. and i think one challenge for
8:04 pm
him is to be a little less like the house budget committee chairman, which of course he is, and a little more like the folksy guy from janesville, wisconsin, who can speak in a way that americans will understand and can relate to on these big fiscal issues. >> we're going to take calls for susan page. the last question just based on this exchange about the two men, the latest "u.s.a. today" d gallup poll has them in a dead heat, a virtual dead heat on likeability. 44% to 43%. what else should we know about the numbers that you discovered in that poll? >> well, no surprise about eight out of 10 democrats have a favorable impression of vice president biden. a few more, 85%, of republicans have a favorable impression of paul ryan. joe biden's unfavorable rating is higher than that. of paul ryan. and pipe continues to be someone that a lot of americans don't really know much about. almost one in five americans
8:05 pm
told us in this survey that they either had never heard of paul ryan or that they just didn't know enough about him to have an opinion. so he's got perhaps a little bit more room to grow tonight as people get a chance to see him in action for the first time. >> for susan page, lease take a few calls. we're asking people about this and how much it matters to people as voters. let's talk to a kentucky caller. joyce, a democrat. >> hi. i personally like joe biden and president obama. i think they're both doing a fantastic job. it's clear that the economy is getting better. unemployment has dropped significantly. you see it on television every day. as far as housing, again, people are not losing their homes as much as they were before. i think they're a great team. i think they're doing a great job. the health care that obama has,
8:06 pm
that is what i need for my family. social security, unemployment, i need for those things to stay in tact. i'm just about to retire and i can't afford to pay more. >> thank you, joyce. susan page, what are the pluses and minuses on the economy for the president going into this election? >> joyce made -- it was great to hear from joyce because she said in her view the economy's getting a little bit better. that is a view that americans increasingly hold. they still think times are tough. everyone knows the unemployment rate is 7.8% as it was last month, that's still pretty high. but the sense of slightly improving economic optimism is one of the things that has lifted president obama's prospects a bit. it's been helpful to him and it's improved his job approval rating. we know that job approval
8:07 pm
rating is really important because usually with an incumbent president, whatever their job approval rating is, that's pretty close to the percentage of americans who end up voting for them for re-election. if he can get his job approval rating at 57% or above, his chances of winning a second term get better and that's what we heard from joyce. so thank you for your call, joyce. >> next tweet. karen b writes to us on twitter, the vice presidential choice is important to me because he's the proverbial heartbeat from the presidency. and should compliment presidential strength and weaknesses. in the case of these two vice presidential choices, how closely aligned are they with men for whom they work? >> they're a little different. from the boss's point. that might be true on the republican side. paul ryan has been a more consistent conservative historically as mitt romney has. that might be because mitt
8:08 pm
romney was a governor of massachusetts. pretty liberal state. paul ryan is a big favorite of the tea party and that's not a situation that applies to mitt romney. although a lot of tea party supporters i think are going to vote for a governor -- for governor romney and on the democratic side, joe biden is someone who is beloved by a lot of union households, blue collar workers, jewish americans. these are core groups in the democratic coalition. and that's helpful to barack obama. you know, president obama has had somewhat less success in appealing to white, blue collar workers in states like ohio. maybe the most critical state this year. and that's a group that joe biden, who is from scranton, pennsylvania, and can really relate to blue collar workers, tells a story of his own family, his own upbringing through some hard times in scranton. that's something that he can offer to president obama and the ticket in this re-election.
8:09 pm
>> susan page joins "u.s.a. today" in 1995. before that she was a white house correspondent for "newsday." this is her ninth presidential election. bringing lots of experience in this discussion tonight. next up is michael in chicago. republican. you're on the air. >> great pick for romney because he really connects with the tea party base. i'm sick of this big government. it's all big government. and we're sick of it. here at home, having to give our taxes for handouts. and i see it here in chicago all the time. everybody wants a handout. especially young kids, whether it be for school or food. i'm sick of it. it's my money. i know ryan doesn't like handouts. he would never take a government handout. >> all right, michael from chicago. let me ask you to comment on this tweet from a writer who writes to us --
8:10 pm
>> how would a debate format allow a potential voter at home to see a debate crisis response? >> you know, that is such a great question, such a great desire by a voter. of course that is the most crucial thing about a vice president. can he or she step into that top role in a seamless way if that should become necessary? these debates are all about being quick on your feet, being able to respond quickly, being able to deal with a surprise, being able to respond to your opponent. so in some ways it gives you -- it's an imperfect test, but in some ways it gives you a test of how good they are on their feet, how quick they are. and you can make a judgment for yourself about how thoughtful they are. so that's just -- i think that's a really smart point. >> sandy is in minnesota. an independent. you're on. >> yes. one of the reasons our unemployment rate is so high is they've allowed these companies
8:11 pm
to ship jobs overseas. and everybody complains about it but nobody's done anything about it. shouldn't there be some kind of penalty to make up for the fact that they're taking american jobs elsewhere? >> thanks so much. susan page? >> well, of course the idea of outsourcing is one that the obama campaign has hit hard against hit mitt, saying that the company he used to head invested in companies who outsourced american jobs to china and elsewhere and i think that's been a damaging accusation, especially in say thes -- states like wisconsin and ohio and pennsylvania and michigan where the manufacturing sector has had such hard times. you know, this was an issue that came up in that first debate last week between the presidential candidates, where president obama said that there were businesses that could take
8:12 pm
tax breaks, that encouraged them to outsource jobs. and governor romney came back and said that he had never heard of those. and so there was no real resolution of the issue but it was definitely one of the hot issues we heard about just last week. >> next, a call from donald in hampton, new hampshire, for susan page of the "u.s.a. today." donald's a democrat. >> yes. >> you're on, sir. >> yes. my gripe is with -- i'm disabled, i have c.t. and they think that they want to cut out the taxes and $700 billion with medicaid and it's just ridiculous. how am i going to survive? i mean, we can't afford mitt romney. i mean, this is just a load of b.s., excuse my language. you can't be doing that to me. i'm a democrat and i want obama . >> thanks so much. that $700 billion figure has been contested by both sides
8:13 pm
and it's medicare, not medicaid. can you give us your understanding from your reporting on what's really at stake there? >> yes. under the affordable care act, $716 billion in funding for the program called medicare advantage, would be cut. now that's not -- it's a secondary, almost experimental project that they had in medicare, to allow some medicare beneficiaries to choose to buy their medicare coverage with private insurance companies. it was supposed to be a money safer, it turned out to cost money. and that's one reason that the administration, in trying to finance the other provisions of the affordable care act, took money out of medicare advantage to do that. they agree this doesn't effect medicare coverage. what it does is effect the insurance companies that have benefited from medicare advantage but the romney campaign has definitely take an strong tone of attack against the administration for this, even though congressman ryan's
8:14 pm
own budget plan assumes the same cost savings for medicare advantage. generaly the issue of medicare is something we're going to hear a lot tonight. expect it to be a primary line of attack by vice president biden against congressman ryan, to explain how his proposal for medicare would effect people. peeb people like donald, calling us from new hampshire. >> the biden -- the biden-obama campaign tweeted a picture. joe's foeture of the day. prepping for tonight's debate. and in with is -- in that with him is john holland from maryland. how good a surrogate would he be in preparation? >> well, congressman van hollen serves with paul ryan on the house budget committee. and i think he has seen palin paul ryan in action a lot. and that was one reason they picked him. he's a young guy, he's a
8:15 pm
personable guy. maybe they wanted a little bit of that age disparity also for governor -- for vice president biden to get used to. one thing i looked up in preparation for writing the analysis and i'll do once the debate begins, is this age disparity and the age disparity between biden and ryan is wider than that of any national debate in -- since we began televising these debates between national candidates. it's bigger even than the one -- it's slightly bigger even than the one between lloyd benson and dan quail back in 1988. and it's more than twice the disparity between dick chaney and john edwards when they debated eight years ago. so, that's one of the things we should be looking for. interestingly, the surrogate that paul ryan chose was an older man. ted olson, the former solicitor general. so both of them chose people to practice against that had the same kind of age disparity that
8:16 pm
they'll face onstage tonight. >> we also looked at the numbers of debate viewership and the 2008 vice presidential debate got more viewers on television than any of the series of presidential debates. 70 million, the highest of the presidential was 63 million. but in most years the numbers are lower for the vice presidential debates than they are for the presidential one. how has social media and viewing on the internet and mobile devices changed the whole scenario -- poll scenario this time around? >> it's really made the -- you know, the social media has sped up everything, right? it sped up the news cycle, for "u.s.a. today" and other news publications. it kind of started the debate cycle. if you want to look at twitter, you can see constant commentary, including from, you know, some of the best journalists around on what's going on in realtime.
8:17 pm
in a way it makes the spin room that's behind me seem very slow and, you know, of another era almost. because you're hearing from journalists, you're hearing from partisans on both sides. as the debate unfolds. >> we'll turn to facebook for a few of the comments. asking people the same question, does the pat al pick matter. -- vice presidential pick matter. >> let me pick up on that theme and the president has been frustrated with his ability to get his agenda passed through the congress. so how much power would any president have facing the new
8:18 pm
congress coming in 2013? >> well, that's a question that we're all sta struggling with. we've been locked in such partisan warfare in washington and some people say if we have an election with a clear outcome that will be an example of the american people speaking and both sides will respond to that. on the other hand, if we have a close election like it looks like we may well have, maybe it starts the next election. maybe we just immediately go into the 2014 congressional elections and the 2016 presidential race. but one thing in regard to the facebook posting that you just read, one of the interesting things is both these vice presidential contenders have such deep history on capitol hill. that is a role i think either one would play, which ever ticket wins the presidential race this year. joe biden of course we all know, a seven-term senator, one of the most senior democrats in the senate at the time he was
8:19 pm
chosen as vice president. and paul ryan, despite the fact he's just 42 years old, is serving his seventh term in the house. so these are guys who have -- know a lot of people, have a lot of relationships, have a lot of experience, have risen to positions of great power on clim. >> that's if that's the case, how effective was -- on capitol hill. >> if that's the case, how effective was former senator biden as that role as vice president? >> i think they've had a tough time. and it's not that it's his fault. i think -- in the initial -- i mean, they did pass some big pieces of legislation including the affordable care act and wall street regulation and the auto bailout, i mean, some big pieces of legislation. but there are other big things that president obama talked about doing four years ago when he was running for office on comprehensive immigration reform, on climate change, that have not gone very far. i mean, it's good to have an ambassador on capitol hill who
8:20 pm
knows the players but it doesn't trump all the other factors that effect the politics of washington. >> susan page will be with us for about five or six more minutes and next up is a.d. in johana, south carolina. a republican. you're on the air. >> hello? >> go ahead please. >> ok. number one, that we need to do is get our country energy independent. then we need to quit spending money on the wars and other countries and, three, we need to get these acts like this health care act that in some ways are destroying our religious rights. >> a.d., do you mind if i ask how old you are? >> yes, ma'am, i'm 11. >> 11 years old. and how did you become so
8:21 pm
interested in national politics and issues? >> just concern about where will we be in the next four years, where have we been in the last four years. >> and do you talk about these kinds of things at home or at school or both places? >> both places. >> and how did you decide you were a republican? >> right now i decide that because mainly the democrats are just spending, spending, spending and, two, they are for the government in charge and taxing and taxing and things like that. instead of the people having more rights about how they want to -- their country to be ran. >> ok. as an 11-year-old, watching, i'm very glad you got through tonight. thanks for taking part. susan page, as a mom, that 11-year-old, no matter what his politics, just has to kind of warm your heart a bit.
8:22 pm
>> it does. i think we just heard from the future governor of south carolina. already with a pretty clear position or maybe running for the senate or the house. yeah, i think it's great. as susan knows, i've got two sons who have always been pretty interested in politics since they grew up in washington, d.c., and one of them in particular who loved presidential history and was quite the devoted viewer of c-span as he was growing up. >> i want to have you explain to our audience, because it's always great to hear process, do reporters such as yourself get to sit in the debate hall? are there any reporters in the debate hall at all? how does that work? or are you watching on television like the rest of us? >> the very first presidential debate i covered was the debate in 1980 between president reagan -- between ronald reagan and president carter. and for that one they offered me a seat in the hall and i took it and it turned out to be the worst place in the world to watch a presidential debate
8:23 pm
because everyone in america of course is watching it on tv and you get a different perspective in the hall. it's not -- in many events it's great to be inside where it's actually happening. i think for a journalist that's not the case for these presidential debates. every debate since then i've covered off tv. i'll be in the media filing center watching those tv screens and frantically trying to meet my first deadline when it comes up and wanting to see the debate just as american voters will be seeing it. >> when is the first time you have to file tonight? >> sadly the first time i have to file tonight is 9:35. so that will be a pretty tentative story because the debate will have just begun. and so -- but then i have another hour before my second edition deadline so that story should be able to be a little more conclusive. >> we have a couple more minutes left with you. let's get a call from there -- in from jay in lakeland, florida. florida, that important state in this election. he's an independent there.
8:24 pm
go ahead. >> yes, hi. thank you for having me. i'm amazed that -- i became an independent before i realized that rush limbaugh had such a negative feel being independents. how much i am amazed that -- feeling about independents. how much, i am amazed -- however, i'm amazed that liberties -- liberals are so against the progressive policies of the bush era and but now president obama and biden have opened the stick et on the very same issues and they're increasing spending, not ending wars, not helping the economy, not helping jobs and so i'm going to vote for romney and ryan. and that's what i have to say. thank you much. >> thanks very much. how does florida look overall?
8:25 pm
>> rl well, florida we know has been a critical state the last couple of elections. also this time, i mean, if you look at the three states that are likely to be most important, i think you'd say it would be florida, ohio and virginia. and you can really tell in those states because they get wall to wall tv ads and the candidates are chriscrossing all through those states. jay said he'd become an independent. that's one of the big trends we're seeing in american politics. in our polling now, about 40% of americans say they're independent. a group of independents is bigger than the group that aligns it self with either of the major parties. so definitely unhappiness with the two major parties. a desire to be more independent. and that changes the way candidates approach campaigns and campaign. i mean, jay i think would have been a target voter for both sides. i'm sure the romney people will be happy to hear he's going to vote for him. >> when we talk about the number of ads, we have not mentioned campaign spending and the influence of superpacs this year. so as we close out here, is the
8:26 pm
story yet written on how much influence they actually have been having on voters to this point? >> you know, i think the superpac phenomenal is one that we're going to be looking at -- phenomenon is one that we're going to be looking at closely to see how it affected things and how it contributed to unprecedented amounts of money. we have never had so much money spent on a campaign as we've seen this year. there may be a point of diminishing returns, maybe there's a point where ads just don't have the impact that they might because people have seen so many of them. but the fact that there have been so many ads, that they've been so sfwens in the swing states, and that they've been so negative. it's really just a tiny fraction of the tv ads that have been aired that make a positive message about either candidate. we're going to -- obviously this is going to have effects on turnovers. some predictions, thea great expert on american turnout, came out with a report predicting low turnout, maybe record low turnout in the
8:27 pm
election in november. all these aspects of it are things we're going to be looking at when we look back and try to figure out what happened with the superpacs and also going forward because we have superpax now. this is a -- superpacs now, this is a phenomenon that's getting bigger, not going away. >> susan page is the washington bureau chief for "u.s.a. today" and always gracious with her time with the c-span audience. thank you so much for all the time you've given us tonight. great to be with you, susan. let me tell you about our program here tonight. as soon as the debate is over, our phone lines will be open for your reaction and we'll also have twitter comments and facebook comments as well. our important thing tonight is to hear from you, the voters. so watch the debate and be prepared to join in with your reaction on how it went, who won, if the issues are important. we'll begin that immediately and a full hour of listening to your response. right now we're going to take you in the debate hall. might encourage you if you watch tonight's debate about our debate hub which is at
8:28 pm so you can have a second screen experience. and in the interim, until that debate gets under way, you'll be seeing scenes as if you were there. as the audience gets into their places, inside the hall of the college campus. then you'll be witness to all of the introductions and explanations about process that that crowd is getting. that's exclusive to us here on c-span. thanks for being with us. we'll see you right after the debate tonight. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012]
8:29 pm
8:30 pm
8:31 pm
8:32 pm
>> good evening, ladies and gentlemen. [applause] and thank you. i'm janet brown. i'm executive director of the commission on presidential debates. and i would like to welcome you to the 2012 vice presidential debate here at center college. this is a homecoming for the commission on presidential debates. we had the good fortune of
8:33 pm
producing the 2000 vice presidential debate here. the campus is only more beautiful than it was then. although dead fred does not seem any livelier than he was 12 years ago. [laughter] the planning for this year's debate started two years ago and involved and has continued to involve a lot of dedicated attention to many, many logistical tasks by a lot of people. you're going to meet some of them in the next few minutes. and they are going to thank even more. i hope you will also read the program to read all of the names of the people that are primarily responsibility for -- responsible for what you see here on the stage, behind the stage, in the media filing center and sprinkled around this campus. this is a fabulous teammate to have in dea bait. we're extremely grateful to be
8:34 pm
here. we're honored to have you here this evening with us. i would like to start the program by introducing the co-chairman of the commission, frank, and mike. [applause] >> welcome, everybody. and i think it was very appropriate that you got that round of applause when you walked out here without even introducing yourself. janet brown is the long time executive director of the commission and this would not literally be possible without the incredibly hard work that she and the entire staff of the commission on presidential debates put together so on behalf of our commission, all of the staff and everyone behind the scenes, thank you for all the great work you do. i want to echo what janet said about center colleagues. what a fan ticks -- fantastic place. i didn't have the privilege of being here 1 years ago but everyone says it's even -- 12 years ago but everyone says it's even better this time around. so pot it the, the trustees,
8:35 pm
the faculty, the students, the entire college community here, i want to say thank you very much and let's give them a round of applause. [applause] and what better place to be than danville? this town has really turned itself out and all of central kentucky has welcomed us so well and given us a little dose of that southern hospitality. thank you so much for what you've done to make us feel so welcome. [applause] thank you. i've got the pleasure of introducing two of our fellow members of the commission who are here tonight. i want both of them to stand up. first, from the great state of kentucky, the former president of the league of women voters, dorothy ridings scott. [applause] and then the great former
8:36 pm
united states senator from missouri, senator john danforth. jack danforth i will give a special tribute to. he came to the commission and said, we really need to think about the format of these debates so that we can encourage vigorous and constructive conversations and engagement between our candidates so we can listen to them and learn from them. and i think we saw that in the first debate in denver. that the format that is more flexible is designed to let the candidates really converse with each other. it produced a better experience for all the american people. tonight our format will be along those lines more flexible. they'll be -- there will be nine blocks of roughly 10 minutes in which the candidates will address questions on both foreign policy and domestic policy as they are chosen by our able moderator, martha rat rad its, from abc news. now, that format is challenging
8:37 pm
to the candidates. and it is important because of that that all of you who are here, and i look out and i see many partisans of both of these candidates. but we would ask to you refrain from any demonstrations of support, no cheering, no applauding, no hissing, no haur mfing, no deep, anxious sighs. if you could please just remember that this is a moment of history and like the great occasions in our american democracy, the state of the union, the inauguration, this is kind of a solemn moment and remember, millions of our fellow citizens are going to be watching this on television at home. so it's important both for the candidates and for all of those at home that you do refrain from any demonstrations of support. no matter what you are feeling. 25 years ago two national party chairs came together, paul kirk
8:38 pm
and frank farnecroft, to establish an independent, nonpartisan commission that would make sure the american people had occasions like this to hear from the candidates. and they succeeded. they have institutionalized now debates that all of us expect to see, every time we gather together as a nation to elect our president and vice president. and with that in mind, it's a great pleasure and an honor for me to introduce my co-chair, my friend, and the co-founder chage of the commission on presidential debates, frank farentcroft. [applause] >> thanks, mike. and thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for being here tonight. you know, i told mike when he ascended to this position as co-chairman, he big shoes to fill. those of paul kirk of massachusetts who for 25 years co-chaired this with me, i'm just happy to say for the past year and a half that he's been
8:39 pm
co-chair he's done a great job and we're most pleased to have you onboard, mike. i get a lot of questions about the commission. and how we function and how -- where do we get our money? well, first of all, we're an independent institution. we get no money from the government, no money from the parties, no money from the candidates. we raise our own money privately. and in your program tonight are some people, many of whom have been with us for many, many years, and while they're listed i want to give outa shoutout to some of them because we would not be able to do what we do and have been able to do for the past 25 years without their assistance. anhieser bush who has been with us since 1992. southwest airlines who helped us move our crew and everything else around the country, helen g. buffet found dane, -- buffett foundation, yes, that buffett.
8:40 pm
sheldon cohen, tax attorney, who has been with us since the late 1980's. a law firm in washington who has contributed to help us do what we do. the national bottled water association and the cobler funds who has been within with us for many, many years. we also want to thank the feed going out tonight. the networks rotate, who operates these cameras and sends the feed out. tonight it's cnn. and we want to thank them for their great job. and we also want to thank c-span. c-span does something that none of the other networks do. and they have the cameras on in this hall for a half an hour, we're now, all of you, are on c-span. so you better smile and look good. you didn't realize that. now you know. but they do a great job of taking people at home and putting them inside, inside this arena as you're going to see these gentlemen in a few moments come out here with martha and present their case to the american people. i want to add to what mike
8:41 pm
said. please don't tweet also, because even if your phone is up and you tweet, a light comes on. and if the light comes on, those people upstairs can see. so if we can do 90 minutes without tweeting, i mean, i know that's hard for many people, this modern day and age, but it's very, very important. as mike said, we're all honored to be part of history by being in this room tonight. but there may be 50 or 60 million americans who are going to be watching at home and they deserve to hear these two men discuss those issues without us imposing our views or prejudices one way or another on them. so, please do your best. martha's going to probably talk to you about this, too. but it's very, very important. it's now a great pleasure for me to introduce the president of this great college. it's a reunion in some case for janet and i and those of us who have been around here for 25 years because we first met him at the university of richmond back in 1992 when he was the
8:42 pm
povost at richmond. and we did the presidential debate there. in fact, the first presidential debate that used the town hall format that we're going to see next week. and then we were fortunate to be able to come back here 12 years ago and back here again tonight. he's done a marvelous job with this university, he's a great man for us to work with and everyone in this audience who has anything to do with center college have a great deal to thank this man for. he does a great job for you. ladies and gentlemen, president john walsh. [cheers and applause] >> good evening. i'm john rauch and it's my honor to serve as president of centre college. i'm pleased to welcome to you
8:43 pm
this hall in the center for the arts. trustees, alumni, faculty, staff, and students are proud to host this debate. along with the people of the city of danville, boil county, and great commonwealth of kentucky. it was our privilege in 2000 to host a 2000 vice presidential debate between secretary dick chaney and senator joe lieberman. 12 years ago the men and women who reported on that debate, the thrill in the ville, reported that this place, centre college, set the standard by which other debates would be judged. so it is with full confidence that i speak for all members of the certainty community in expressing my gratitude to the commission, its co-chairs, and to janet brown, the commission's executive director, for allowing us to serve the nation again with thrill in the ville ii.
8:44 pm
to those who know centre and those who will come to know it, our selection to host in general election debate is no surprise. it has long been a part of centr eambings story, its d.n.a., if will you, to achieve beyond expectation. that attitude live notice all that we do. the legendary loyalty of our alumni, our nation-leading studying abroad programs, and the work of our fact ulingt, staff and students, in the classroom and on the playing field. as a "los angeles times" recently said, quote, centre is a college that consistently punches above its weight, closed quote. a place where the extraordinary is what we expect of ourselves and each other. a smaller college that thinks, acts and achieves big. a place like our nation where the impossible is made possible. i'm joined tonight on stage by
8:45 pm
luke wenton, president of centre's young republicans and centre's young democrats. why, you ask? first, everything at centre is about the students. second, because these two gentlemen, who share different political views, remain best of friends. and choose to be recognized first and most importantly as young, involved americans. centre -- [applause] centre is that kind of place. a place where students live and learn in remarkable ways. prepare themselves for extraordinary lives of work and service, are competitive without rancor, are generous and kind with each other.
8:46 pm
gosh, you say, john, you described a place that sort of sounds like heaven. [laughter] well, borrowing from one of my very favorite movies, "field of dreams," it's not heaven, it's centre college in danville, kentucky. [laughter] [applause] having already thanked my friends on the commission, i need to thank our trustees and the friends of this college that made this debate possible with their sponsorship. i need to thank the members of the centre team who are too many to mention for all of their hard work and time that they spent to make this great event possible. i need to thank our friends in danville, boil county, and the commonalth of kentucky. i close by extending a special welcome to martha radditz, our moderator, and the families of vice president biden and congressman ryan. my wife, susie, the three of us
8:47 pm
, extend our best wishes to both candidates for a thoughtful, civil and substantial discussion about issues facing our great nation. the women and men of centre college and all of kentucky are pleased and proud to serve the people of these united states and the world with this debate. i welcome you and i spend -- send a special shoutout to molly, to any and to tristan -- to annie and to tristan, and to our students at the debate festival and our friend as i cross the street, go colonels! [cheers and applause]
8:48 pm
>> as you can tell septer is a good news story if ever there was one. there is one very important thanks a that needs to be given to dr. roush's teammate, susie roush,ithout whom nothing here would work as well as this does. [applause] would you please join me in welcoming dr. jill biden and
8:49 pm
mrs. janet ryan. [applause] one additional housekeeping footnote to the don't breathe, don't tweet, don't even think about it, and that is, as you probably figured out, no photos, please. all of this is very distracting, not only to what's going on in the hall but to the home viewing audience. so, thank you for really abiding by these rules. there are a lot of special people at home who are watching this part of the program and again i'd like to repeat our thanks to c-span for letting people be a part of what goes on before the debate and that features so many of the people that made this possible.
8:50 pm
i'd like to introduce our moderator for this evening, we are honored to have the senior foreign affairs correspondent for abc news, martha radditz. [applause] >> a little stagecraft there. hello, everyone, it is great to be here. centre college has been so fantastic, has done everything for us. the most fun i had though is the last few days with students. we had stand-ins of course for vice president biden and congressman ryan. we also had as we called her, young martha. and that was not me. so it was fantastic. i am not the scolding type. so i am not really going to repeat all these things about turning off your cell phones.
8:51 pm
i'm just going to give you a warning. i was once in a white house briefing and my phone went off and my son, who is here somewhere tonight, had put in "riding dirty" which is apparently hip-hop. so that broke up that and i have never had my -- my cell phone go off anywhere ever again. but i am very honored to be here tonight. it is a great opportunity. i think for all of you, it is great to see the families. vice president biden and congressman ryan, honored to be here. i'm going to sit here. i'm not used to -- i think a few of you probably know that i spent a good teal of -- deal of time in war zones, so i'm not used to sitting with my back to the audience. i'm also not used to this much fuss in getting ready. i usually just sort of roll out and i'm on tv. so this took a while. but it is great to be here. i hope we have a wonderful and lively debate and thank you all for coming. now i'm going to be a little quiet here.
8:52 pm
thank you. [applause]
8:53 pm
8:54 pm
8:55 pm
8:56 pm
8:57 pm
8:58 pm
8:59 pm
disc Borrow a DVD of this show
info Stream Only
Uploaded by
TV Archive
on 10/11/2012